As the Holiday season begins, many individuals tend to look forward to the thought of being around family and friends, celebrating traditions, and/or shorter work weeks. Some individuals, however, can find this time of year, anxiety-provoking, depressing and emotionally exhausting.
Holidays often equate to engaging in family-oriented gatherings, which depending on family dynamics, can result in increased anxiety for some individuals. Worrying about mom's approval of a new partner, wondering whether dad will continue to express his disappointment with your career choice, or stressing about your sibling(s) willingness to understand how much help you really need with caring for your parents, are a few examples of situations that can provoke anxiety thereby causing a person to dread the holiday season.
This time of year can also be depressing for individuals who lack familial support, are not involved in a significant relationship or are going through a life-hardship that prevents them from celebrating the season as they would like. And while they may choose to not celebrate, commercial advertisements and/or innocent questions like, "What are you doing for the holiday?" etc., can serve as a reminder of what they don't have thus causing a negative association with the holiday.
Last but not least, emotional exhaustion is a common feeling many individuals experience during this time of year. Sometimes the mere thought of all the planning, traveling and socializing a person will have to engage in, is enough to bring about a "cloud of gloom." In other cases, memory of last year's disorder, dysfunction or drama can serve as a blockade to feeling cheerful about celebrating this year.
With all of that said, it is important to be aware of your feelings during this time of year and to not let it get the best of your ability to function. Talking with friends and family you trust and/or with a therapist about how you truly feel can help you get to the bottom of what you are experiencing, learn ways to resolve it and hopefully make next year's holiday season a more cheerful one.
Do you tend to experience any of the above when the holiday season approaches? If so, how do you deal with it? Please share your thoughts below.
Christine M. Valentin
As a licensed clinical social worker, I help individuals caring for a loved one reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. This blog is meant to share with you, many of the suggestions I recommend to many family caregivers. Sign up to receive them directly.